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Full text of ""Fishing for suckers"; advertising schemes that get money from the innocent, gullible and unwary .."

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'Fishin 

for 

Suckers" 

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j^ George Thomas Walking 
20 Fenno Street, Roxburj 
Jt Boston, Massachusetts 

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364.163 
W335F 



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DUKE 

UNIVERSITY 

LIBRARY 




FRIENDS OF 

DUKE UNIVERSITY 

LIBRARY 

GIFT OF 



.L.Q.uls.e....Hall 



"FISHING FOR SUCKERS' 



By CARL. H. BROCKHAGEN 

Advertising Counsel for the San Francisco 
Bulletin and President of the Advertising 
Club of San Francisco 

nPHERE has been more fraud perpetrated 
through the classified pages of the Ameri- 
can press than through all other classes of 
advertising combined. . . . Through fake 
Want Ads the gullible and unwary, the 
weak and the sick, the country yokel and 
innocent maid are often led to dens of 
iniquity, and financial, moral or physical 
disaster follows fast in the wake of the 
rotten medical, personal, massage, clair- 
voyant, matrimonial, mining or thieving 
business opportunity advertising. 

[In The Fourth Estate, May 27, 1916] 



[ Easy Money ] 

"Fishing for Suckers" 

Advertising Schemes That Get 

Money from the Innocent, 

Gullible and Unwary 



<•<? 



Bait" 



Photos of the Nude 
"The Kind Men Want, but Seldom Get" 

Rich, Rare and Racy Books 
"The Warmest Stuff Ever Put in Print** 

The Mail Order Mint 
"Making Money in the Mail Order Mint 
Is Easy When You Know How" 



(,(, Ct 99 



Boston 

George Thomas Watkins 

1916 



Copyright, 1916, by 
George Thomas Watkins 






5^443 



tiontents X \ 

PREFACE Page 9 

"Fishing for suckers" — "'The schemes hack of 
the ads" — "The little pea uniler the little shell" 

A VIEW OF THE SUBJECT Page 11 

Do grapes grow on thorns and figs come from 
thistles? — The magic influence of printers' ink — 
Curiosity — Taking things for granted — ""Books of 
knowledge" — "Horoscopes" — "Win at cards and 
dice" — "Gamblers' hands" — "Lucky stones" — 
"Skeleton keys" — "The great secret" — "Magic 
needles" — "Lovers' sachet" — "The love pulmotor" 

PHOTOS OF THE NUDE Page 23 

Beauty in woman — "Bashful Venus undraped" — 
"Real stunners" — "Astonishing poses" — The "eye- 
opener poses" — "Exquisite delights" — "Images 
galantes" — "Shapely girls" — The "nude in art" — 
Photos of women, "the kind men want, but seldom 
get" — Girls in "rich, warm poses" — "Men's favorite 
poses" — "Female loveliness at bath" — "Not a 
stitch on them" — "Spicy, peppery, front views" 
"Bathing girls" — "Red hot!" — "Girls in swim- 
ming" — "Naughty!" — "Bedroom Scenes" — Et cet. 

RICH, RARE AND RACY BOOKS Page 31 

"Red hot, classy, full-of-ginger" — "Unvarnished 
language" — "Naked truth" — "Every sport should 
read it" — "Sent securely sealed" — "Greatest vice 
resort on earth" — "Fascinating descriptions" — 
"From the ballroom to hell" — "Her naked self" 

MAKING MONEY IN THE MAIL ORDER MINT Page 37 
"Dimes and quarters in every mail" — "SlOO to S500 
a month, experience unnecessary, no capital re- 
quired"— S 10,000 a year in small mail order busi- 
ness" — "Without risk" — "Honest" — "Legitimate" — 
"Marvelous masterpieces of money-making mail 
order schemes"— "S650,000 in 18 months"— "No 
excuse for poverty" — "A fortune for SI" — "S50 
profit guaranteed on SI capital" — "Fill your 
pockets with gold, silver and greenbacks" — "$250 
a month with two days' work" — "S500 for SlOO" 

BIBLIOGRAPHY Page 47 



Preface 

There is an almost universal desire in all of us to 
have ''lots of money." The desire to get it easily and 
quickly has afforded the get-rich-quick promoter his 
chance to "fish for suckers." Indeed, this branch of 
the piscatorial art has so large a following of these 
"anglers" that the government is compelled to employ 
considerable "machinery" in order to keep these 
covetous "fishermen" from making "suckers" where 
none were before. The classified advertising columns 
of newspapers and magazines have been the medium 
through which much of the glittering "bait" has been 
cast to catch the unwary and innocent "fish." 

But the "love of money" is only one among many 
forms in which the "average human" shows his like- 
ness in gullibility to his finny brother. Another lure 
which attracts the attention of many is ^^ photos (of 
women) — the kind men want, but seldom getJ* In 
the same class is the "ric/i, rare and racy hookT 

The following pages contain the amusing experi- 
ences of one who has been curious to know some 
of the "schemes back of the ads" — curious to 
see the "kind of photos men want, but seldom get"; 
to read some of the books, so-called, that are "rich, 
rare and racy"; to learn the "naked" truth about 
what happened to Estelle; to learn what was the 
"warmest stuff ever put in print" by reading "Fast 
Life in Chicago," with the story of "how Olga got 
broke in" and "Kittie's thrilling experiences with a 
rounder"; to learn the "moral" from the startling 
truths revealed in "From the Ballroom to Hell"; why 
only men should read "Cousin Maud," "A Woman's 
Blighted Life," "The Pace That Kills" and heed the 
warning in "A Bad Woman's Influence," and — others! 
how any intelligent person, without experience, in 



10 "FISHING FOR SUCKERS" 

spare time, may earn $15 to $25 a week corresponding 
for newspapers and magazines; how to "go on the 
stage"; how to learn a trade in a few hours that will 
net $5 and more a day; how to learn to paint pic- 
tures in one lesson with oil paints; how to "make 
$2000 easy money quick" for two one-cent stamps; 
how to write "song poems" for publication; how to 
get a life job with Uncle Sam, with sure work, big 
pay, easy hours, long vacations and steady advance- 
ment; how to make money in grain; how to win at 
cards and dice; how to be a movie actor and draw a 
large salary, have pleasant work and travel; how S15 
invested in some "great oil field" may make S1500; 
how $10 a day may be made tacking signs; how to 
obtain a $35 watch for 55 cents; how to get 25 cents 
apiece for names and addresses; how to be a detec- 
tive at $300 a month and travel all over the world; 
how to be a prospector (with a $50 "dip" needle) ; 
how to make a steady income knitting at home; how 
to get a big mail every day of samples, circulars and 
advertising matter; how to make $100 a month mail- 
ing postcards, without capital or hard work; how to 
get a wife with $50,000 in the bank; how to raise 
ginseng, mushrooms and Belgian hares in the back 
yard, and last, but not least, how a "fortune can be 
made in the mail order business," without capital and 
at home during spare moments in the evening! 

In plain view a little pea is rolled under one of 
three little shells. He who is vain of his eyesight, 
but ignorant of the game, is sure he knows under 
which little shell the little pea is rolled. It looks 
like "easy money." If he who reads this book be 
not as vain of his reasoning powers as one who is 
vain of his eyesight, this contribution to the literature 
of advertising will not be without interest, and — 
amusement. 

G. T. W. 



A View of the Subject 

IS it safe to say no one believes grapes can grow on 
thorns or figs come from thistles? Then why have 
millions of men and women for centuries kept right 
on getting "stung" for their surprising credulity in 
other matters just as impossible? 

In the olden time the honest manufacturer of 
bricks was careful to place the right amount of 
"straw" in his clay, thereby giving strength to his 
product, and, likewise, assuring himself of "repeat 
orders." His wicked contemporary made bricks 
without "straw," selling them, no doubt, at the same 
price as the honest manufacturer, and, in all likeli« 
hood ( he was mean enough ! ) , advising his credulous 
customer to go ahead and build his bungalow on the 
sand where the waters washed around the founda- 
tions twice in twenty-four hours. 

Now he who reads this book should see that "one 
can not gather grapes of thorns nor figs of thistles," 
no matter how alluring the promise of profits rnay 
be — the promise of sure cures, something for nothing, 
easy money, a fortune in the mail order business, 
get-rich-quick, certain kinds of photos and books, and 
other bait at which "suckers" usually bite. 

It is often boasted that the American people are a 
nation of newspaper readers, and as such possess in 
a high degree a sense of the importance of education 
and knowledge of affairs of the world, yet it is a sad 
commentary on their common sense that millions of 
dollars, so government reports say, are filched from 
the pockets of thousands of persons every year by 
unscrupulous advertisers. 

Surely it "pays to advertise," and surely the object 



12 "FISHING FOR SUCKERS" 

of advertising is to make money, but when adver- 
tising appeal is a promise of "something for nothing" 
or that which the laws of the nation forbid surely it 
is time the buyer should beware. 

If fraudulent schemes can succeed in reaping a rich 
harvest of golden dollars each year through the me- 
dium of advertising and the mails, heralding all sorts 
of wild cat mining, oil land, stock and investment 
snares, so-called "mail order" businesses, home work 
fakes, magic powders or perfumes for winning a per- 
son's love, divining rods for locating buried treasure 
and "lost" mines, "mental science," anti-fat and anti- 
lean prescriptions, lucky stones and rabbits' feet, not 
to mention too seriously "gold bricks" and "green 
goods," it gives ample proof of the "pulling power" 
of that immeasurable factor in civilization since the 
invention of movable types, the magic influence of a 
well directed and liberal use of Printers' Ink! 

But what else does it prove? 

It proves there must be an astounding lack of 
common sense, a surprising degree of credulity and 
a vast amount of gullibility on the part of a large 
proportion of our population on matters of money, 
health, medicine and religion. But the greatest of 
these weaknesses is gullibility; in other words, the 
expectation that something can be had for nothing — 
and that they are going to get it! 

The value and importance of practical and efficient 
advertising to the life of a newspaper or maga- 
zine, and to the advertiser as well, need no 
brief in their behalf — this is a fact plain enough 
to all who are really alive and in possession of 
that amount of education and knowledge of affairs 
of the world set down in a previous paragraph; but, 
as George French says in his "Advertising : The Social 
and Economic Problem," "Advertising has bred up a 
variety of methods of getting money without fairly 



"FISHING FOR SUCKERS" 13 

earning it, and tliose methods will be held tenaciously 
by the unscrupulous and greedy." 

Possibly there are few who have not heard of the 
"machine that made money," and the sickening de- 
nouement that followed when the purchaser tried to 
"work" the thing himself; of the cure for horse 
slobbering by teaching that animal to spit; of the 
"authorized" steel engraving of President Garfield 
for SI which turned out to be a 5-cent postage stamp; 
of the sure death to potato bugs by placing the insect 
on a block of wood and smashing it with another; of 
the "infallible instructions" on how to raise beets by 
"planting your feet firmly on the ground, take tight 
hold of the tops, and pull"; of the "absolutely sure" 
way to "double your money" by "converting the same 
into bills and fold them"; of the "sure system of 
winning at the races" which, for $5, brought just 
two words, "Sell tips"; of the "only absolutely sure 
cure for drunkards that has ever been discovered," 
in which it was said, "Sign the pledge and keep it"; 
of "Three yards of fine silk for 25c," which was only 
9 feet of silk thread; of "How to make an impression 
that has never failed," addressed to young women, 
who for their SI received the advice, "Sit down in a 
pan of dough"; of the "minister" who "chanced" 
upon some seeds of Jonah's gourd, of Bible fame, 
while on a visit to the Holy Land, and, desiring to 
distribute them among Bible students, on receipt of 
SI per seed, sent "de-natured" pumpkin seeds; of the 
"book for gamblers," which was a Bible; of the 
directions and materials for "drawing" a tooth with- 
out pain, which, for 50 cents, brought a piece of paper 
and a pencil; of "home work" schemers who adver- 
tise that S15 to S25 a week may be made at home, but 
first, please, send them from $1 to S50 for "machines" 
or "outfits"; of the inducement to copy letters at 
home at S20 per thousand, which work was speedily 
dropped after remitting $1 for an "outfit" consisting 



14 "FISHING FOR SUCKERS" 

of a pen and penliolder; of the old, old style of "get- 
rich-quick" advertiser who could tell everybody "how 
to live without work" by advising "Fish for suckers, 
as we do," or like another who said, "Work like hell 
and never spend a cent" — and many, many others — 
all insincere, deceptive and fraudulent, and each in 
its own way designed to excite the curiosity and 
credulity of the gullible. 

It is sometimes hard to decide which is the greater — the 
impudence of the quack or the credulity of his victims. The 
comparative ease with which the medical faker is able, bj the 
most preposterous claims, to separate the trusting from their 
money indicates the enormous potentialities in advertising. 
It might be supposed that an individual who set out to sell, 
as a panacea for all the ills of the flesh, a piece of brass pipe 
with one or two wires attached to it, would, commercially 
speaking, have a hard and rocky road before him. But such 
a supposition would be incorrect. Not only would the enter- 
prising faker find customers for his gas pipe but there would 
be such a demand for this most inane of "therapeutic" devices 
that two or three imitators would immediately enter the 
market. — Nostrums and Quackery, 1912, p. 295. 

Curiosity is recognized as the "mail order man's 
chance." Many persons answer "blind" advertise- 
ments with no thought of sending any money — merely 
wishing to find out what the ad is all about. The 
American people have a great big streak of this 
characteristic in their makeup — one mail order man 
saying, "they are worse than crows, who, when they 
see anything curious that they do not understand, will 
keep nosing around closer and closer till they find out 
what it is." Recognizing that curiosity prompts a 
large percentage of inquiries, the advertiser "follows 
up" his "curiosity seeker" with letters and circulars 
that are calculated to excite further the agreeable 
expectation of getting "something for nothing." 

"The habit of taking things for granted," says 
H. Addington Bruce, in a newspaper article, "The 
Cost of Credulity," "of accepting the statements of 
others without stopping to consider the grounds on 



"FISHING FOR SUCKERS" 15 

which they are based, is one of the coininonest fail- 
ings of mankind. It is also one of the costliest. Its 
cost is measured not merely in dollars and cents, but 
in human life." 

Relyino; on the widespread tendency to credulity, 
the swindler boldly proclaims his "sure cures" and 
"get-rich-cjuick" schemes, and confidently awaits the 
response the mails will bring him. His confidence is 
seldom misplaced, if the truth has been told by 
Collier's, the World's Work, the Outlook, the Journal 
of the American Medical Association and many other 
publications which have sought to expose traps and 
pitfalls laid by quacks and fakers. 

The wonderful growth of the motion picture 
business has stimulated the desire of many men 
and women to become scenario writers (or movie 
actors or actresses). It has also stimulated the desire 
of certain mail order persons to profit by this wide- 
spread ambition. The lure is held out that a fortune 
may be made in spare time, that experience or liter- 
ary ability is unnecessary, that the demand for 
photoplays is far in excess of the supply. The most 
misleading part of the advertising of those who claim 
to show the way to this "easy money" is that "any one 
can do it." But the scenario editors of the leading 
moving picture producing companies seem to be 
unanimous in the opinion that "every one can not 
do it," that inspiration, the habit of oliservation, the 
plot-gerrn, the idea, can not be taught through the 
medium of the United States mail. Nearly all the 
ads of these so-called "moving picture companies" 
state that photoplays are "wanted," that S25 to SlOO 
is paid for them, seemingly by the advertiser, but an 
answer to the ad usually brings the information that 
a book on "how to write photoplays" is for sale by 
them. 

In regard to "writing for newspapers and maga- 



16 "FISHING FOR SUCKERS" 

zines" the above statement may well apply — any 
one and every one can not do it, no matter how 
assviring may be the promise of the generous sellers 
of "instructions" on "how to do it." To get a "steady 
income*' of "$15 to $35 a week corresponding for 
newspapers" needs a bigger start than can be found 
in any $1 or $2 "book of instructions" that has come 
this way. 

The "wise men of the east" certainly had nothing 
on the "wise men" of the west — when it comes to 
"getting the stuff." Did they ever know how to make 
$50 a month, using only ten minutes a day? or how 
$3000 yearly might be got out of a back yard? There 
was grain in those days, but is it recorded that any 
one of them knew of the "opportunity" for "taking" 
$500 from an investment of $10 in "puts" or calls"? 
There was "oil" in those days, but where is it written 
that the "Jerusalem Co-Operative Oil Company" held 
out the lure of 10,000 percent interest on the shekels 
invested? It's a long way, and a long time, from 
Jerusalem (B.C.) to the UnitedStates in 1916,but we're 
here! — with "books of knowledge," "horoscopes," 
"gamblers' hands," "goldometers," "lucky stones," 
"marked cards" and "loaded dice" now happily 
within the reach of all! And, lest we forget, "skele- 
ton keys," for 25 cents, that will unlock all common 
door locks! 

LOOK! Skeleton keys; just the thing you need; unlocks 
all common door locks. Set, 25c. 

A fine chance here for the amateur burglar to get 
some tools of the trade for only 25c. 

MY VISIT to the spirit world. Paradise described; mar- 
velous, up-lifting, inspiring; what loved ones are doing. 
Pamphlet, 25c. 

A very small price for so much "marvelous, up- 
lifting, inspiring" information, indeed. 



"FISHING FOR SUCKERS' 17 

A LETTER written by Jesus Christ found just after 
death; a copy will be sent for SI paper; no stamps. 

Ill plain la!i«jjiiage, this does not read on the level, 
else why so insistent on "81 paper; no stamps"? 
THE GREAT SECRET— How you can make >our lover 
or sweetheart love you; they just must love you; they 
can't help themselves. This secret is based on scientific 
principles and can not fail. Send 25c in silver. 

The "seientilie principle" is thus divulged for the 
two bits: 

Your letter of recent date at hand, and in reply will say 
that to win the woman you love you must constantly think 
with your whole soul's intensity that you want her to love you; 
in addition to that you must not drink. Keep clean and neat 
in your dress. Be polite and attentive to her. Be generous, 
for women hate stinginess in men, but dearly love generosity. 
Be brave, for women hate cowards and love bravery. Be firm; 
women hate triflers. Walk with your head and shoulders well 
thrown back; be dignified; be courteous and every inch a 
gentleman. Flattery goes a long ways to win a woman, but 
don't overdo it. Don't be bashful, as women hate bashfulness 
in men, but love bold men. Yours for suckers. Prof. X. 

Another "professor," who had "wonderful powers" 
when his hand was crossed with gold, sent to remitters 
of S37.50 a "gambler's hand," to wit: 

I take pleasure in sending you my gambling hand and all 
that goes with it. When you get it sew it up in a piece of soft 
leather and carry it in your pocket with your money. Let no 
one handle it, and keep it as dry as you can. I will send you 
nine candles to use one at a time — Monday, Wednesday and 
Friday nights. Light one and set it down on a brick. Do not 
touch it for one hour; then throw ashes on the floor and press 
your feet on them. 

WIN AT CARDS and dice; absolutely impossible to lose 
if you follow instructions. Protect yourself. Circular 
10c. Men only. 

The "instructions" are contained in a book pur- 
porting to "expose" all the secret systems, methods, 
tricks and devices for cheating with dice, dice tops, 
cards, hold-outs, reflectors, magnets, etc., at craps, 
poker, faro, roulette, chuck-luck, billiards and pool. 



18 "FISHING FOR SUCKERS" 

and other games; schemes for beating slot machines; 
race track systems, and many other gambling secrets. 
The book is said to be sold only for "your protection 
against gambling and gambling devices," and not for 
unlawful purposes ! 

THE CHANCE of a lifetime; if you have a hundred 
dollars or so to invest, let me tell you how to become 
independent for life. 

A FORTUNE— Buy Indian Lucky Stone, guaranteed to 
bring health, happiness, business success or return and 
get your money back within 15 days. Price SI. 
Sooner or later, one who answers many ads relating 
to "lucky stones," "divining rods," "magic needles" 
and so-called "miracle-working" articles from the 
Holy Land, wherein " guarantees " are given of 
"health, happiness and business success," is going 
to get his hopeful letters of inquiry returned to 
him by order of the Postmaster General, who also 
directs that the word "FRAUDULENT" (in red ink) 
be stamped on the face of the envelope. 

FACTS WORTH KNOWING— One dollar will bring you 

the Hindoo Lucky Stone; wonderful; every one wants it. 

LUCKY EGYPTIAN METAL, with your name cut on. 

Guaranteed. 

Puzzle: What's "guaranteed"? 

LOADED DICE, 82 per pair. Marked cards, SI per deck. 

Marked cards and loaded dice ! What for ? 

UNDERGROUND TREASURES— How and where to find 

them guaranteed. Particulars for stamp. 

The ad says, "How and where to find them guaran- 
teed,'" but the circular describing a "miner's compass 
dip needle" says "This (the needle) is a substantial 
and reliable instrument designed for locating Iron. 
And owing to the well-known fact that the buried 
money and valuables which have been recovered have 
generally been found in a heavy Iron pot or kettle of 
some kind, this Dip Needle will evidently prove 
valuable to persons looking for such treasures. Un- 



"FISHING FOR SUCKERS" 19 

derstand, we are not contending that money or 
jewelry will attract it, but are reasoning that few 
people would bury valuables in cloth, paper, wood, 
tin or other perishable containers, but would use a 
heavy Iron vessel to protect it. And in which case 
only the instrument we are offering here would rea- 
sonably assist in locating it." The price of the 
"needle" is $20. 

MAGIC NEEDLES — Goldonieters, etc., for treasure 
seekers. Millions of wealth under your feet. Prospect 
for mines and lost treasure. 

RODS and miners' dip needles sold. Fortunes made 
prospecting. We furnish instruments (free). Simply 
give us one-fourth of all finds you make. We have 
everything for the prospector. Circulars, 10c. 

A letter asking for circular was returned by order 
of the Postmaster General. 

For those in love — or about to be — there are offered 
in many ads "Lovers' Perfume," "Lovers' Powder" 
and "Lovers' Sachet," to "win sweethearts" and "make 
them go wild over you." Thus: 

LOVERS' SACHET — Win sweethearts, either sex; used 
personally or in correspondence; never fails; without 
delay; double strength; makes them go wild over you! 
Powder and directions for use, 25c. 

This class of comedy is tough on the vest buttons. 

Samuel Hopkins Adams, in the New York Tribune, 
July 16, 1916, under the head, "Mail Order Tricksters 
Hooked by Government," says, instead of landing a 
well known species of "fish," which Barnum credited 
with a remarkably high birth rate, some wily anglers 
got landed themselves. The story of the "love pul- 
motor" is here given: 

Artificial respiration is a great thing, but what would you 
think of a Love Pulmotor? No such thing? All right, read 
this advertisement. It goes even further— it promises not 
merely to revive but to create love — undying love: 

AN EMBROIDERED SILK HANDKERCHIEF full of 
new, sensational, suggestive and Oriental perfume; mag- 



20 "FISHING FOR SUCKERS" 

netic, ideal and mysterious. The same is diffused sweetly 
and stimulates and reciprocates the affections and makes 
love irresistible. If you offer the odor of this exquisite 
perfumed handkerchief to a youn^ lady of your acquaint- 
ance she will become attracted with deep affections toward 
you; if accepted as a present, a mysterious force will 
compel her to love you unconsciously, keeping always the 
affection because of the sensational perfume. It can be 
sent, together with full instructions, for the sum of 81.25. 

This advertisement sold handkerchiefs, but not satisfaction. 
It lacked one feature of good merchandising. It carried no 
guarantee. Perhaps there was a reason. The handkerchief 
is as poor in quality as its advertised description is rich in 
adjectives. It is about as potent to make love irresistible as 
would be a confidential eulogy to your best girl of her dearest 
enemy. Can you imagine a lovelorn swain waving that love 
inspiring bit of silk in mysterious, magnetic circles about the 
head of his heart's desire and watchfully waiting for its 
Oriental power to develop a dollar and a quarter's worth of 
limitless affection? If you can imagine that you would have 
bought the mystic handkerchief. The postoffice inspector who 
investigated this advertiser had no imagination. He was 
better acquainted with cupidity than he was with Cupid. He 
reported, presumably after an unsuccessful test, that "the 
handkerchief possessed no virtue whatever for the purpose for 
which it was purchased. " 

ARE YOU ON? We'll show you how to get the money 
without being ashamed to take it. 

DON'T START A MAIL ORDER BUSINESS— Be a pro- 
moter and start others. Make $25 to S50 weekly. Send a 
dime for sample and plan. 

That's the stuff! Be a promoter and start others. 
But perhaps you would prefer to originate your own 
plan of starting others — there certainly would be 
"more in it for you." 

COULD YOU USE MORE MONEY?— Send 25c for plan 
of mail order business that brings dimes and quarters in 
nearly every mail. 

LEARN ABOUT THE MAIL ORDER BUSINESS— We 

positively guarantee success. Write today. Your golden 
opportunity. Send 25c for complete plan. 
WHY LOOK FOR A POSITION?— Capitalize your 
talents. You can make SlOO to $200 a month. 



"FISHING FOR SUCKERS" 21 

I HAVE ONE OF THE MOST SIMPLE and easy propo- 
sitions for making big money in the mail order business, 
all or spare time. Absolutely no capital required. Let 
me show you how. Complete instructions for silver dime. 

This species of advertising has reached its flood 
and, seemingly, its ebh set in, for many newspapers 
and magazines are now exchiding advertisements 
offering to start any one in the mail order business, 
to furnish or to sell mail order plans, mail order 
secrets, or a course of instructions in the mail order 
business; circular distributing schemes; securing 
names and addresses or mailing lists for mail order 
houses; detective schemes, offering to teach by mail 
any one and every one how to become a detective; 
publishers of song poems, charging a fee for setting 
to music, printing and creating a demand for songs; 
home work schemes of all kinds — writing at home, 
knitting, sewing at home, and all other home work 
schemes. 

Note.— The italics used in the ads reprinted in this book are 
by the author — the emphasis apparent. 



I 




1 


1 


"MINIATURES," 

one advertiser says, "Don't show 

much," but adds that in the 

originals you will get a 

"SURPRISE." 












S'il faut que quelque chose tombe, 
Mieux vaut la chemise que les seins! 






ii A S men we know that it is natural for men tc 
love this kind of art — of beautiful girls in nudt 
and semi-nude. Where is the man who doesn't?" 

^ ^ ^ 

Any man who gazes upon a nude form tvith lus 
is a degenerate and needs to be pitied. Only coward, 
blush at the sight of the nude form.— MWe. Porter. 


I 

I 

5 



Photos of the Nude 

"Kind men ivant, but seldom get" 

BEAUTY in woman holds a unique and romantic 
place in the world's history. From the golden 
locks of that Helen who "launched a thousand ships 
and burnt the topless towers of Ilium," or the "raven 
tresses of the Nile" for which Marc Antony flipped 
away a kinirdom, to the radiant faces on the latest 
magazine covers of today feminine loveliness has been 
the inspiration of many masterpieces of every art. 
Its present-day commercial value in advertising, not 
only as an attention-getter but to show the beauty or 
utility of the thing advertised, is well known. Indeed, 
it can truly be said that woman's keenness for the 
exploitation of her charms is one of the oldest and 
still one of the most persistent forms of advertising- - 
and hard to beat! The popular picture postcard of 
recent years has been one of the greatest disseminators 
of female loveliness. Its range of subjects has em- 
braced all forms of art and many forms of impudence. 
Pretty women have ever attracted men — the saint and 
the sinner. And pictures of pretty women, whether 
clothed in the apotheosis of femininity or revealed in 
the flesh of youth (particularly the latter), are often 
sought by some men. Now let us look into some kinds 
of advertising that contain the startling assertion (or 
is it the gift of inspiration?) that there are pictures of 
women which men want, but seldom get! 

Photos, "the kind men want, but seldom get," as 
many advertisements read, touch the imagination as 



24 "FISHING FOR SUCKERS" 

quickly as any appeal made to the young man. The 
erotic element in youth prompts boys (and many of 
their elders as well ) to answer this class of advertise- 
ments in the hope of getting photographs of pretty 
young women in "rich, warm poses," just "before 
bath," "rare as you wish," "men's favorite poses," 
"real stunners," "bashful Venus undraped," "hoochee- 
coochee girls," "female loveliness at bath," "daring," 
"stunning," "fascinating," "bewitching," "nature 
poses," "red hot photos," "snapped in her den," 
"little Miss Mabel alone," "spicy," "peppery," 
"front views," and so on in a profusion of suggestive 
phrases. 

The seductive appeal is everywhere apparent in the 
"copy" of this branch of the "fine art of advertising," 
its "persuasiveness" seldom being equaled as a 
"puller" of dimes and dollars from the youth whose 
mind is seduced by the insinuation that "our photos 
are the kind men want, but seldom get." 

The kind men want, but seldom get! 

Although the implication contained in the above 
seven words surpasses anything to be found in 
Edouard Fuchs' "Element Erotique dans la Carica- 
ture" or John Grand-Carteret's "Images Galantes" or 
"Decollete et Retrousse," books possessing great his- 
torical and artistic interest, one is constrained to be- 
lieve that the "visions" aroused in some minds by 
this "attention-getter" might even equal the realistic 
illustration by Giulio Romano for Aretino's "Sonnetti 
Lussuriosi." 

Perhaps the reader would like to be left to his own 
reflections — for a while! 



The erotic element in human nature is an essential 
force — it is a fundamental principle. It is not an 
evil thing in itself — it is only debasing when serving 



"FISHING FOR SUCKERS" 25 

ijriiohle ends. ''There is iiothint; essentially impure 
about the sex feeling," says Dr. Frank Crane, writing 
on "Sex." ''On the contrary, the most beautiful, the 
most refining, the most conserving and wholesome 
elements of a man's or woman's experience are due 
directly and indirectly to this natural instinct. . . . 
When shall we get over the long error of medievalism 
that 'all desire of the flesh hath in it something of 
evil'?" 

The intent of the phrase, "kind men want, but 
seldom get," is obvious. But seldom, indeed, are 
the "photos" that come from the "studios" of those 
who offer tliem anything more than harmless pictures 
of sometimes comely models whose poses are far from 
suggestive of "spice," "pepper," or other "warmths." 
yet giving the beholder an inkling of their endearing 
voung charms — sometimes! Honi soil qui mal y 
pcnsv! 

One of the earliest of the photo ads a "certain 
party" recalls (at a time when he believed he could 
admire the "nude in art" at its true value) was the 
following: 

THREE genuine photos from life! "Out of sight!" 
Cabinet size. Sent sealed, SI. 

O! the disillusion! The three "genuine photos 
from life" received gave good evidence that some 
poor, old family photograph album had suffered 
theft! 

Though expectations were thus rudely crushed by 
one to whom had been given confidence, and a one- 
dollar bill, it was not long before another advertiser 
beckoned to the novice to buy a set of "photos from 
the nude" — not from life merely, this time. There 
could be no mistake — the ad said so — "photos from 
the nude.'' The appeal was thus: 



26 "FISHING FOR SUCKERS" 

PHOTOS of the nude! Set of 10 photos, sharp and clear, 
brilliant in execution, daring in pose, absolutely unique; 
a veritable panorama of exquisite delights! Prospectus 
and sample on request to gentlemen only. 

Here, surely, was a sample, at least, of what was in 
Btore. tn due time the sample and prospectus arrived. 
It was an alluring and seductive promise of '''scenes 
impitdiques des luhricites, des voluptes egrillardes ct 
spirituclles, du nu ct des decolletes piqiiants, dans 
tout Vinipudence de Vijupudicite," or words and mean- 
ing to that effect, (with apologies to O. Uzanne), 
which few "gentlemen" could resist (as afterward 
proved ) . The "sample" photo, though provokingly 
small, visually "backed up" the glowing promise of 
the prospectus. To enjoy the possession of these 
"exquisite delights" it required the remittance of So, a 
paltry sum when compared with what one might 
expect for his money. But Uncle Sam got wind of the 
fact that nothing whatever was sent in return for the 
S5 — it was a skin game, pure and simple — not exactly 
"pure," but very simple in operation, as it was said 
more than 10,000 "gentlemen" responded quickly to 
the "appeal" of that prospectus! 

But that was more than 25 years ago! Skin games 
of today have their prototypes in those of yesterday. 
In this world where everything must change with the 
passing years it is only natural that the faker, in 
whatever line he seeks to play his cunning hand, 
should adopt new methods of deception in catching 
the unwary and credulous — yet always playing upon 
the gullibility of those he wishes to entrap. 

The following are some types of the "photo" ads 
of recent years. In many of them, it will be noted, 
there is the insinuation that the "goods" are for "men 
only" — and though you may have believed that "a 
thing of beauty is a joy forever," and that the lines 
of the Venus de Milo, typifying the perfect female 



"FISHING FOR SUCKERS" 27 

figure, are the essence of beauty, it would never do, 
8eeniin<ily. for any one but man to jjaze, and then in 
privacy, \vitli wondering eyes, upon so much "female 
loveliness unadorned" as a "bashful Venus" in a 
pose both "rich and warm" in artistic conception and 
true to life in photographic detail! 
Regalez-vous, messieurs! 

IMAGES GALANTES 

SIX PRETTY GIRLS IN SWIMMING— Nudes, semi- 
nudes, skin-tijiht suits, all different, photofiraphed from 
life; daring poses; every one a peach! 3 for 25c, 

Not SO many years ago it was noised about by some 
reformers that photos of the nude (in "spicy," 
"daring," "stunning" and other "attractive" posings) 
were the cause of the moral destruction of thousands 
of young men. In recent days other reformers and 
moralists declare that filmy waists with georgette 
sleeves, expansive "V" necks, and the lovely revela- 
tions of female legs smartly fitted in fine silk stockings 
of novelty stripes and colors beneath diaphanously thin 
skirts are corrupting and destroying our morals — even 
more responsible than anything else for "waves of 
immorality" and the "downfall of young men." The 
debaele must now be almost complete, after all that's 
been heard about the "one-piece," sans stockings, at 
Palm Beach, Galveston and the California beaches^ 
where, "they say," pink one-piece suited, full- 
bosomed, knee-dimpled Venuses of the "perfect 36" 
from the cities vie with other mermaids in their 
unveiled charms of nature (sans tout!). 

American "mermaids" are not going to listen to 
any old prudish suggestions — neither are the photo 
makers! Since there's no "standard" for anything 
we wear except what frivolous fashion dictates, bath- 
ing suits and bathing girls, plus stunning figures, will 
ever be alluring — especially the one-piece suit a la 
Kellermann. "A bare leg is no worse than a bare 



28 "FISHING FOR SUCKERS" 

arm," says Mile. Porter, and she further asserts, with 
reference to the nude, that "any man who gazes upon 
a nude form with lust is a degenerate and needs to be 
pitied. Only cowards blush at the sight of the nude 
form." You see, beauty must be served ! 

That good photos of pretty bathing girls are 
"charmers" no one will deny, but the nub, the rub, or 
the hub, or whatever you call it, is that one is often 
"stung" when he seeks to invest in a collection of this 
kind of "art." 

With the great popularity of "swimming for women" 
has come the bathing girl in all her glory — in "stun- 
ning" suits and in newspaper pictures. From Old 
Orchard to Palm Beach, Galveston and Corpus 
Christi, and from San Diego to Seattle, she is the 
observed of all observers. Once her greatest problem 
was to be alluring and proper at the same time — but 
that problem has now been solved by the "new free- 
dom" for bathing girls, who, a la Mabel Normand, 
decide that beauty's business, first, last and all the 
time, is to be charming. Let the critics be proper ! 

BEDROOM SCENES— Girls swimming and on bank nude; 
retiring, in bed; nude bunch in the woods. 6 for SI. 

Very misleading. Four photos are reproductions 
of familiar paintings, the other two being from life — 
mais sauf et sain. 

"I'M READY," dainty, fascinating vision of female love- 
liness; kind men want; can't describe here! 10c. 

Distance lends enchantment! "Fm Ready" (post- 
card) is a young woman in a bathing suit, of course, 
but the "symmetrical scenery" is obscured by too 
much suit. 

BEAUTIFUL GIRLS in bewitching poses, "true to nature." 
Sent sealed. Men only. 

A "nifty" bunch of "beach and diving beauties" in 
one-piece bathing suits. Also some "gems of art" in 



"FISHING FOR SUCKERS" 29 

which the photographer is said to have done his best 
to show "rich, warm beauty of female loveliness." 

RARE, fascinating female beauty poses; "thicks" in 
negligee; six different, extraordinary photos, 25c. 

Clever photographic reprints of imported postcards 
of an unusually attractive young woman whose poses 
glorify the unmentionable fascination of unadorned 
parts. 

GENUINE imported photos of beautiful and shapely 

models in unconventional poses; finely finished. Gratify 

that desire! Six, SI. Men only. 

"Unconventional poses" may be either "on pur- 
pose" — or not. (Yes? Thank you!) The phrase, 
"Gratify that desire," is what got the above ad into 
this book. However, the photos reveal, not '^scenes 
impudiques des lubricites," but the endearing young 
charms of female loveliness in decollete, retrousse, 
dishabille and negligee. 

REAL PHOTOS FROM LIVE BEAUTIES— Guaranteed 
against disappointment. Sample and 10 miniatures, 25c. 

The sample is a reproduction of an imported photo 
and the miniatures, as the advertiser says, "don't show 
much," but adds that in the originals you will find a 
"surprise." 

MYSTIFYING AND ASTONISHING POSES of girls and 
boys before marriage! Best and latest out, 

! ! 1 

POSTCARDS YOU LIKE— Front views! Strictly new, 
rich and warm! State age. 

How old are you? (Because, they're front views!) 

RAVISHING! — We certainly have the fruit that beats 
them all! "She's without togs — a beaut and a thriller!" 
50c coin or stamps brings her. Men only, 
THREE real eye-opener poses of girls; red hot, peppery 
kind. "Little Miss Mabel" in two realistic nature poses. 

Now, just what do you think would be a "real eye- 



30 "FISHING FOR SUCKERS" 

opener pose" of a girl? — or one of the "red-hot, 
peppery" kind? You lose! 

HUNDRED WAYS OF KISSING GIRLS and other 
things; something real good. B. Girls' Club. 

"Ten kisses short as one, one long as twenty; a 
summer's day will seem an hour as short, being wasted 
in such time-beguiling sport." 

In George Moore's "Sister Teresa" we learn that 
*'women can be as bad as men." If it is "bad" for 
women to sell photos, "the kind men want," then the 
following ads are those of "bad" women — at least 
women's names were signed to them: 

FIVE SPORTY CARDS of shapely girls in stunning poses 
that show clearly their rich, warm beauty. Sent sealed. 
FIVE POSTCARDS, 10c (silver). Kind men want, but 
seldom get. Miss R. 

"Going some when a MISS can advertise sporty 
pictures. They may be harmless, but the intent is 
there just the same, as only those interested in spicy 
or sporty poses will answer." — Mail Order News. 

PHOTOS— "Nude in Art," not a stitch on them! Exciting 
poses. Sent securely sealed. Men only. 
RED HOT! Four beautiful bathing girl pictures. Better 
than "September Morn"! 

MISS MERRY WIDOW before the bath, two poses. 

ORIGINAL BATHING BEAUTIES— The kind you have 
always wanted. (Very daring! Naughty!) 10 for 25c 
silver (no stamps). 

100 BATHING BEACH GIRLS, in assorted, bewitching 

poses. 

25 BEAUTIFUL POSES of California Bathing Girls, 10c. 

"Gazing far down in the valley below he spies the 
pretty maidens bathing in the stream!" — From the 
song of "The Oom-yah Bird." 

Once we regarded a couple of weeks in the moun- 
tains or woods as an ideal vacation. But after this 
it's the bathing beach for us. O! you bathing girls! 



Rich, Rare and Racy Books 

"r/ie warmest stuff ever put in print" 

MEN who buy books that are advertised as "rich, 
rare and racy" do not do so because of ignor- 
ance and inexperience. It is the expectation of getting 
something "off color" that prompts them to part with 
their money. 

Like the makers of "photos of women, the kind men 
want but seldom get," the publishers of "red hot, 
classy, full-of-ginger" books in "unvarnished lan- 
guage," that make "no attempt to dodge anything," 
where the "real, genuine, undiluted naked truth" is 
blurted out in every line, all the while "teaching a 
deep moral lesson," also appeal to the erotic element 
in men. As the evil will ever find in books the 
wickedness they themselves bring, and the holiest of 
printed books make the wicked think wickedly, so 
the vilest of them can not make the lover of righteous- 
ness do wrong. In other words, books will not make 
fools of people who are fools by nature, or "ain't quite 
right in the head," to quote the editor of the Bingville 
Bugle. 

As a contribution to a ''hihliotheca americana 
curiosa' (or "the hundred worst books") the follow- 
ing titles, taken from the advertising matter, with the 
accornpanying "notes," made up from the "descrip- 
tive literature," should make a good beginning. 

Publishers of this particular line of "books" are 
quick to seize upon a new field for their operations, 
and, following the exposures in recent years of "white 
slave" cases and the reports of numerous vice com- 
missions, have resorted to these subjects as a fruitful 



32 "FISHING FOR SUCKERS" 

supply of ''raw" material. Consequently, if you 
"grab the opportunity before the books are out of 
print" you should soon have a fine collection of — 
junk ! 

The postal authorities have ruled that no matter 
how harmless a book or picture may be, if the adver- 
tising of it is designed to cause a false impression the 
advertiser is liable to charges of obtaining money 
under false pretenses. (Of course the advertiser has 
no control over the imagination of any one who reads 
his advertisement.) 

With the book advertisements shown farther along 
it would be difficult to prove, perhaps, that the adver- 
tisers were giving the wrong impression as to the 
character of the "books" — certainly the impression 
sought is apparent enough. 

A "certain good man" some years ago is said to 
have sold several thousand copies of a cheap edition 
of the Bible at S2 a copy by using an ad something 
like this: 

EVERY SPORT ou^ht to read this book, the most fasci- 
nating of all the ages; full of fascinating matter; 400 
pages. Sent in plain sealed wrapper for $2. 

It is hardly possible that any "sport" who answered 
the ad expected to receive a Bible — rather, one may 
reasonably presume, said "sport" believed he would 
get the "naked" truth about something or somebody. 
In this case the advertiser certainly gave the reader 
a "false impression" of the character of the book he 
had for sale. 

THE WHITE SLAVE GIRLS OF CHICAGO— A rare 
book. By "One of the Girls," who has been there and 
knows how it is herself. 

The "authoress" does not mince matters. There 
are no ifs, ands or huts about it. In "plain English" 
you may read and understand her story, from the 
time she was "insulted by a handsome, well dressed, 
but worthless, brute," and later "parts with her honor 



"FISHING FOR SUCKERS" 33 

rather than give up her child," ami hundreds of 
other startlin*; incidents in the "everyday life of the 
white slave girls," on, on to the end. 

THE TRAGEDIES OF THE WHITE SLAVES, or the 
Tragedies of Ten Girls. True stories exposing the 
methods in trapping girls. Guaranteed to please you. 

"Boys, if you want to read something real lively, 
order this book sure and read how Minnie was lured 
into a life of shame, how the girl from Iowa had a 
big time, and what happens in the 'red light' district 
of the big city every night in the year." 

CHICAGO BY NIGHT. What to see and how to find it. 
Made more realistic by 45 illustrations. 

An "eye-opener" to every young man intending to 
visit the Windy City, especially if he contemplates 
"taking in the sights." Gives "reliable information" 
concerning places of amusement and some "hilarious 
resorts" not so public. Everything made plain in this 
"great work." 

IN THE ARMS OF LOVE. 

A thrilling "romance" of a "young, talented and 
very amorous young girV and her lover, a '^mismated 
married man.^* 

CRIMES OF THE WHITE SLAVERS. Real life in "red 
light districts" of large cities. 

You will not believe "such things" possible till you 
read them in this book. '"''Fascinating descriptions" 
of how girls are led astray and wives induced to be 
untrue to their husbands. 

FRAM DANCE HALL TO WHITE SLAVERY. The most 
thrilling, sensational white slave story ever put in print. 

"If you once start to read it you will not stop until 
you have finished it, as it will thrill you through and 
through from beginning to end"! Girls' own true 
stories of how they started attending dance halls for 
mere pleasure and companionship, and there met by 
white slave dealers and lured into a life of shame. 



34 "FISHING FOR SUCKERS" 

FIGHTING THE TRAFFIC IN YOUNG GIRLS. Illus- 
trated by 32 pictures of "darkest Chicago." 

The "startling, stirring confessions" of "Daisy" and 
"Kitty." 

THE FATE OF ESTELLE, the Typewriter Girl— Real 
spicy. Sealed. 

If you enjoy truth that will make your hair stand 
on end, read this book. "It points a moral of which 
every girl should beware"! 

TWENTY CONFESSIONS OF TWENTY DIVORCED 
WOMEN — A thriller from cover to cover. Under sealed 
wrapping. 

"Before you marry" you are advised to read these 
"confessions." Why? 

HELL AT MIDNIGHT IN SPRINGFIELD— What's do- 
ing after dark in the red light district of the capital city 
of Illinois. 

The table of contents too "strong" to quote — here! 

WHAT HAPPENED TO OLGA— The life story of 
Florence, the prettiest girl at the White Front, the 
Fountain of Youth, the greatest vice resort on earth. 

If that is not enough, there are eight other warm 
stories added. 

CONFESSIONS OF A YOUNG GIRL, who thrilled "so- 
ciety" with her frank confessions; full of ginger. 

"Seize this momentous opportunity and reap an 
experience which no other volume can afford." Her 
soul is burning with an absorbing passion, "madly 
longing for her lover's embrace." Evidently a jinx 
steps in somewhere, for all this "transcendent happi- 
ness" is soon "staggering under the weight of a name- 
less horror." 

THE ART OF PLEASING MEN— A book for ladies. 

The woman anxious to get married will here find 
"some unfailing methods of catching a husband," and 
"how to get another when he has been gathered to 
his fathers." "Any woman who can not catch a hus- 



"FISHING FOR SUCKERS" 35 

band by the rules laid down in this book does not 
deserve one." 

SEPTEMBER MORN, FAMOUS NUDE CARD and book, 
"Secrets of the Harem." lOc. Catalog, 2c. 

The "secrets" of the harem seem very commonplace 
affairs after reading this "book." The catalogue an- 
nounces that photographs of "beautiful women in 
suggestive and semi-nude poses, and girls in various 
stages of undressing,'' etc., may be had, and also 
assures you that the models employed for these photos 
are the "most beautiful women in the world." A 
"trial order" brought — disillusionment. 

BOYS— BUILD A BETTER BABY. Sexation in its freer 
love relationship is "Religion of the Future." Book free 
in English or French. Sealed, with "Law of Bi-Sexual 
Birth," only 10c. Both with books, "White Slavery" and 
one on "Drugless Healing," with fancy colored plates, 
postpaid, 25c. Japs are immune, so remember that pre- 
vention of disease is perfection of health. Do I get your 
goat? Address, Bessie X. 

Now what do you think of that? 

THE LOVERS' CASKET. 

This is "some" casket! And all for 10c! It con- 
tains "secrets for lovers," one of the secrets being 
"how to win the true love of as many of the opposite 
sex as the heart may desire," and this secret is said to 
be worth S5 to any one; ten funny stories you may 
learn to tell and create roars of laughter at evening 
entertainments; you can be the wonder and envy of 
all your friends when you have learned to perform 
tricks with cards; twelve gay and festive love letters; 
a book on love and courtship will help you smooth 
the way to happiness; seventy-eight rib-tickling "new" 
jokes and conundrums; twenty-one "rip-roaring, 
bright and snappy monologues"; thirty-nine experi- 
ments in magic; a "complete marriage guide" in 
which many "mysterious things are truthfully and 



36 "FISHING FOR SUCKERS" 

vividly explained"; seventy-one toasts that are "cork- 
ers"; fourteen "vivid" pictures of a "young couple in 
all sorts of antics before and after marriage" which 
you shouldn't miss; forty-two flirtation cards; two 
hundred and ten riddles and conundrums; the "Gipsy 
Fortune Teller," and one hundred and twenty-nine 
"Money Making Secrets" that will make you rich — 
worth S500 to you! 

NATURE'S WAY IN LOVE, COURTSHIP AND MAR- 
RIAGE. Nothing like it has ever before been published. 

"Were a price put upon this book proportionate to 
its value few could afford to buy it," but that all men, 
old and young, rich and poor, may own a copy, just 
answer ten questions and if in the judgment of the 
advertiser he thinks you need the book he will send 
it. As the book explains to a "scientific certainty just 
what will win a woman's love," and, having won it, 
"hold it forever and against all comers," why hesitate 
to answer any of the ten questions? (especially the 
last four: Q. 7, Mention all your ailments. Q. 8, 
What treatment have you had? Q. 9, At what ex- 
pense? Q. 10, What result?). 



The Mail Order Mint 

"Making money in the mail order mint is easy 
when you know how" 

HOMELESS wanderer and searcher after honest 
employment! When your pockets are empty 
turn to the Want Ads — the by-paths to easy weahh! 
There you will find "green fields" and "running 
brooks," the "land of milk and honey," "rich" gold 
mines, "flowing" oil wells, "producing" orange groves, 
100 to 10,000 percent interest on your "investment," 
"1000 secrets on how to get rich," "$10 a day without 
capital," "barrels of money," "slathers of greenbacks," 
"showers of gold," "mountains of silver," "money 
sticking out everywhere" (and easy to get), all this 
bewildering array of "unheard-of opportunities" 
entreating you to get your share — without capital, 
without work, and without worry! 

It is said that the sight of some foods makes the 
mouth water. Equally efficacious, so far as results 
are concerned, is the sight of an ad that makes the 
mind's eye see visions of wealth and luxury through 
the investment of "two bits" ( sometimes two "bones" ) 
in a "golden key" that unlocks the "secret door" that 
leads straight to the tremendous heaps of yellow gold 
coins that lie in the high, vaulted treasure chambers 
of the mysterious "mail order mint." 

"Making money in the mail order mint is easy when 
you know how" is the sweet burden of many a pro- 
moter's song. Its dulcet refrain is heard from East- 
port's rocky shore to San Diego's silvery tide. It carries 
a message of "deliverance" from wage slavery under 
tyrannical bosses for a thin pay envelope; it also 



38 "FISHING FOR SUCKERS" 

carries the "warning" that old age is steadily creep- 
ing on, that tomorrow we may lose our job, and then, 
with only a heavy heart and enfeebled hands, we 
shall see the wolf of want come right into the house 
and gobble up every one of us! 

But, hold! A "Moses" is at hand! 

First let it be said that the "easy money" mail order 
promoter is not a mere "deliverer" only. He is more 
than that! His extraordinary knowledge of finance 
and business, of human nature and its needs, of the 
desire of every one to be independent, amply qualify 
him to be the one and only one in this great nation 
of down-trodden wage slavers who can free them from 
the eternal grind and put cash-producing "plans" or 
"courses" of "instructions" in their hands that will 
start the dollars rolling in by the operation of any 
one of his many marvelous masterpieces of money 
making mail order schemes! 

The Perfect Day must be near! 

Keen visionists of the future may already see that 
this nation is destined to become a humming hive ot 
mail order dealers — if only the toiling masses of meal 
ticket chasers once realize they have but their bone- 
warping shackles to lose, will banish fear and take 
advantage of the "tremendous and unlimited" possi- 
bilities of money making offered by those who are 
impatient to start them in business. 

"In the wildest flights of all your dreaming," said 
one of these super-benefactors of mankind, "you 
never dared hope for the quick success that should 
come to you if you will immediately send for my 
great mail order course," the price of which was $100 
at the start, but later reduced to $3 down, $97 to be 
paid when the operator had cleared $2000 in the first 
six months! Still later it was reduced to the "measly 
sum of $1," which included free of charge the very 
scheme with which the originator of this mail order 



"FISHING FOR SUCKERS" 39 

wizardry claimed to have made "$650,000 in eighteen 
months" ! 

Yet, strange as it may seem, these "benefactors" 
have had their prototype in years gone by. Fifty and 
sixty years ago there appeared in New York news- 
papers the following among the Want Ads: 

A FORTUNE FOR SI -No excuse for poverty. Direc- 
tions will be sent to any one enclosing §1, postpaid, to 
the subscriber, which will enable them, with the smallest 
amount of capital to realize from S15 to S30 per week. 

BECOME ABSOLUTELY INDEPENDENT— Send SI and 
the astounding secret will be sent you. 

$5000 A YEAR CLEAR— No investment required. This 
is a marvelous plan, new and perfectly legitimate, pay- 
ing the originator more than SlOO a week. Not a cent of 
capital invested. Full details of operation mailed in 
plain envelope on receipt of S5. 

Of all the schemes for making money without work 
the mail order business has been touted the most. 
The fascination of taking "real money" from the 
morning's mail is glowingly described to one who 
sends a stamp or a "silver dime" for "particulars." 

The fact that some ads have been run two to five 
years, in a half-hundred mediums, must mean that 
the proposition pays — pays, at least, the persistent 
advertiser. But it does not mean, necessarily, that the 
proposition is a good one. It will be noticed there is 
a striking similarity in the "copy" of many of the ads 
farther on — often identical. There is a suspicion 
that some of the "mail orderites" are "chasing their 
tails." 

A "scheme" may be either legitimate or fraudulent, 
according to the intent of the advertiser. Any way, 
the "scheme's" first business is to get attention — to 
excite curiosity. For instance: 

LOOK! LOOK! LOOK! Money! Money! Money! 

Key free. 

The ad was answered; and, the "key" received, if 



40 "FISHING FOR SUCKERS" 

such it is, read, in part: ''$500 genuine money for 
$100; $1000 genuine money for $200,'" and so on. 
But do not be surprised if you should receive S500 in 
Villa specie for your 100 good U. S. dollars. 

25 CENTS starts you in the mail order business selling 
plans and instructions; over 500 percent profit; $2 worth 
for 25 cents; start now. 

This "start in business" consisted of 20 circulars. 

SEND ME 25 CENTS and I will send you copy of an ad 
pulling me 300 quarters a week; article to fill orders and 
place to secure article for 10 cents prepaid to customer. 

In plain English, I think, this means, "Work the 
suckers the way we do." At least that's the way it 
looks after an examination of the "business litera- 
ture" received. 

AN AD THAT BRINGS THE QUARTERS— I will send 
you copy of an ad that has pulled as many as 1000 quar- 
ters in one month; will also tell you where to place the 
ad; full information and sample of article to sell, 25c. 

And this the same. 

MAKE S50 UP PER WEEK -I show you how; no can- 
vassing; no mail order scheme. 

For 25 cents you can get a copy of the "Roadman's 
Guide," in which you may look for the "$50 up per 
week." 

WHY WASTE SPARE TIME?— Receive 30 to 50 letters 
daily, dime in each; possibilities unlimited; will send 
complete plans for stamp. 

Sure enough, "complete plans" came by return 
mail. But why tell everybody and anybody for two 
cents how to make a metal polish? 

$3000 A YEAR — No canvassing, no soliciting, not a mail 
order business; no advertising, printing, mailing or 
peddling — and no humbug! 500 to 700 percent profit! 
Working for wages is a joke! My plan, 25c, tells how. 

DIMES! — Dimes in every mail; money comes so easy it 
will stagger you! Complete instructions 15c. 



"FISHING FOR SUCKERS" 41 

Instructions tell how to place an ad similar to the 
above in classified columns. In answer to each in- 
quiry send ''12 Gay and Festive Love Letters Reading 
Two Ways" and the price per hundred of the letters, 
and vour customer will see the possibilities of money 
making in this way and will be anxious to "increase 
his income" in the same way you are doing! 

AN AD that brings 350 dimes per week; copy of ad, 
sample of article and where to buy, all for 10c. 
You guessed it — "12 Gay," etc. 

SEND DIME and 2c stamp for my great money making 

formula; you can positively make S30 daily. 

Make a "poultry tonic" in two-pound packages and 
sell 65 of them a day at 50 cents per package — that 
will "positively make S30 daily." 

LET ME show you how to start a business of your own 

that will not cost you one cent. 

Send S5 for a formula; with it will come 24 copies 
of "24 Ways to Make Money" (formulas), which you 
must sell to friends at 25c each, "making S6." With 
the SI profit on the sale of the booklets to friends 
you then "can start a business of your own" without 
it costing you a cent! Fine! 

START a business of your own; I will tell you how and 

send complete instructions for 25c. 

"The only way to make a success of any business is 
to go to it in earnest," comes with the "instructions" 
for making a silver polish. 

HOME SEWERS WANTED— Send 25c for sample work 

and instructions. 

The sample is a canton flannel article which you 
are to stitch together and return for "inspection." If 
you wish further "instructions" please send the ad- 
vertiser S5 for a "trial shipment" of five dozen of the 
"articles." Your profits are to come out of sales you 
make in your neighborhood. 

It is this sort of "home work" ads that once 



42 "FISHING FOR SUCKERS" 

prompted this Post Office report upon a "work at 
home" scheme: "This money comes from the poor 
and ignorant, as a rule, as they are the class attracted 
and duped by the advertising and literature." 

READ WISELY— Chance of a lifetime. For 25c in silver 
I will put you next to something that will place you aboN-e 
want as long as you live. 

Here's a chance to pay off your debts — if you have 
any — and then take life easy. 

WE PAY 25 CENTS EACH for farmers' names and 
addresses. Send 10 cents for contract. 

Listen! The "desirability of this proposition" is 
very apparent ('We pay 25 cents each"j, but the 
"contract" dulls the edge of the desire for so much 
"easy money" when it discloses the modus operandi 
by which the 25 cents "compensation" is to be ac- 
quired; that is, getting orders for printed stationery 
at $1 per order and sending the company 75 cents, the 
party of the second part keeping 25 cents. That's the 
way to get "25 cents each for farmers' names," etc. 

MEN AND WOMEN wanted to gather names of their 

neighbors for us; 10 cents a name paid. Send 10 cents 

for full particulars. 

An answer to such an ad usually brings the infor- 
mation that $1 must be sent for a "complete outfit" 
for compiling the names. "Instructions" which come 
with the "outfit" often require more "inside informa- 
tion" concerning the persons whose names are desired 
than the average individual can hope to get — and 
quits the job. One concern is said to have received 
nearly 200,000 letters, each containing a dollar, while 
"working" this scheme — but the promoter later went 
to jail for eighteen months. 

S25 WEEKLY collecting names and addresses. Send 
stamp for particulars. 

This is a very easy way to get rid of a dollar. How- 
ever, emptor gets "instructions" how to collect names 



"FISHING FOR SUCKERS" 4^ 

and sell them — but not how to sell them to the 
advertiser. 

SELL ME your spare knowledge; average person has 
$3000 worth; turn it into cash. 

Still have my "spare knowledge" (whatever it is), 
because the three dimes sent for the method of dis- 
posing of the same were returned — the "plan" was 
out of print! 

WORK FOR YOURSELF— Small ad pays me 150 quarters 
per week; ad and sample of article to sell, 25c. 
The two-bit piece returned! Advertiser had quit 
the "business"! 

START YOURSELF EARNING S5 DAILY— No scheme 
or mail order plan, but a high grade business proposi- 
tion. Can be operated anywhere on $2 capital. Complete 
instructions for silver dime and 2c stamp. 
A formula for a toilet preparation, which, it is said, 
can be put up for $2. Then sell 28 bottles a day at 25 
cents a bottle — and you have the $5 per. 

I MAKE S5 A DAY with small mail order business; 
ad and sample of article used and full particulars for 10c. 
Suggests selling the very same thing the advertiser 
does — a two-page sheet of instructions about compil- 
ing and selling names and addresses. 

DONT BE A SLAVE and work for others; earn $1000 to 
§5000 a year in your spare time; full particulars on re- 
ceipt of $1 cash. 

830 WEEKLY ON 25 CENTS CAPITAL— No mail order 
scheme or medical formula; thousands can work without 
interference, any lime, anywhere; don't let this offer slip 
by, but let a dime roll this way. 

AN AD THAT PULLS THE DIMES— Also enough mate- 
rial to fill 25 dime orders, only 20c. 

Once in a while the "dime pulling business" fails 
to work, as the following shows: "Dear Sir — I re- 
ceived your 10c in stamps. As yours was the only 
order I received there is no need to keep it." 

LET ME show you how to start a profitable business, 
without capital, complete for a silver dime. 



44 "FISHING FOR SUCKERS" 

ASTONISHING, FASCINATING— Millions of dollars 
made annually; SlOO weekly at home during; leisure 
moments; absolutely no canvassing; no experience neces- 
sary; I will start you in this extraordinary business and 
furnish everything ; don't worry about capital. 

The business must have been too astonishing, too 
fascinating and too extraordinary. The Postmaster 
General ordered letter returned. 

GOOD FOR S250 PER MONTH -Once established, two 
days a month carries it along. Plan sent free, with two 
formulas, for 25c silver. 

Advertiser says this business can be started with 
less than SI capital. "Do you know of any other 
business that will earn that much money for two 
days' work a month?" Nope. 

WOULDN'T YOU like to have people everywhere send- 
ing you money by mail? You can receive 300 dimes 
weekly by mail without risk. Complete information, 
material, valuable sample, 10c. 

After receiving the "dope" it looks like an invita- 
tion to thrash the same air with them. 

YOU CAN MAKE A FORTUNE with SI capital! If you 
want to fill your pockets with gold, silver and greenbacks 
write me for plans and schemes for getting money 
quickly. Sent free! 

As Poor Richard says, "The boldness of some men 
and the credulitv of others is startling and won- 
derful." 

MEN WANTED to work in a company store; SlOO a 
month and a pass worth S25 will be sent one desiring to 
take the work. 

As a "guarantee of good faith" please send SIO — 
and then you will have a long, long wait for a job. 

MAKING MONEY IN THE MAIL ORDER MINT is easy 
when you know how; we'll gladly tell you all about it if 
you are in earnest; SI all you need at first; experience 
unnecessary. Send 10c for particulars. 

"There is absolutely no limit in the mail order 
business." The "mere dollar" you need "at first" is 



"FISHING FOR SUCKERS" 45 

for a book which may mean the turning point for 
you '"from faihirc to a glorious success in the mail 
order business." That's all. 

I HAVE A SPLENDID PLAN that should net you $5000 
the first year; can be started without capital during spare 
time, without interfering with your present occupation. 

How many wouldn't drop their present occupation 
for S5000 a year? Only one? Sit down — you're 
rocking the boat. 

DONT WORK FOR OTHERS ALL YOUR LIFE— Start a 
mail order business of your own. You'll never get rich 
working for others. Small ad that brings in 175 to 225 
dimes weekly, and complete instructions for 10c. The 
very best plan for those looking for the coin. 

It won't be long before all that "mystery stuff" is 
torn off the mask of the "wise insiders" in the mail 
order mint, so many are bent on showing us how to 
get the money. So start a business of your own on a 
few dimes — and other dimes will come tumbling into 
your lap on every round of the postman! 

ADD $200 MONTHLY TO YOUR INCOME— You place 
small ads in newspapers and magazines and pull hundreds 
of dimes and quarters; no capital required; SI makes 
$50 a week. 

After investigation it doesn't seem so easy. "There 
is so much output from the ignorant and the 'suckers' 
that it seems allowable that there should be some 
kind of a scramble for it. The blame is fundamentally 
with the people who go about with their purses open 
to the view of ambitious and thrifty collectors." — 
George French, in his "Advertising: The Social and 
Economic Problem." 

MEN without trades, learn to clean wall paper, make $8 
a day; all secrets and instructions, $2. 

$550 CLEAR in 90 days or less; congenial work in your 
own community; man or woman; no capital required; 
spare time may be used. 



46 "FISHING FOR SUCKERS" 

FRIENDSHIP or love easily won, or lost love regained; 
secret, 10c. 

YOU can make more money in a week with your brain 
than in a month with your hands; ordinary ability 
required; either sex; particulars on request. 

WHY look for a position? Start your own profitable 
business, without capital. 

EITHER SEX — Address postal cards at home evenings; 
S15 a week easily made; full instructions 10c. 

There are a few easily definable classes, which may be set 
down at once, under the heading "Swindles," and so dismissed; 
promises to cure or relieve, by mail, any disease, malformation 
or abnormal physical condition, whether the method be by 
drugs, diet, mechanical appliances, medical treatment, baths, 
or "health foods"; mining, industrial, commercial or real 
estate propositions holding out the lure, whether guaranteed 
or not, of high percentages on an investment; definite offers 
of salaried or guaranteed employment on any basis requiring 
the payment of money from employee to employer. — Samuel 
Hopkins Adams, "The New World of Trade," Collier's, June 
19, 1909. 



Bibliography 

BOOKS 

Marked Fraudulent, or the Faker and the Sucker. Ross D. 
Breniser. (Philadelphia) 1907. 

Principles of Practical Puhlicitv. Truman A. De Weese. Phila- 
delphia, 1908. 

Nostrums and Quackery. Chicago, 1912. 

The Great American Fraud. Samuel Hopkins Adams. Fifth 
and enlarged edition. Chicago, 1913. 

Advertising: Selling, the Consumer. John Lee Mahin. (New 
York-, 1914. 

Building Your Business by Mail. William G. Clifford. Chi- 
cago, 1914. 

The Schemes Back of the Ads. Ross D. Breniser. 1914. 

Business of Advertising. Earnest Elmo Calkins. New York, 1915. 

Medical Mail Order Frauds. Chicago, 1915. 

Advertising: The Social and Economic Problem. George 
French. New York, 1915. 

Advertising: Its Principles and Practice. Harry Tipper, Harry 
L. Hollingsworth, George Barton Hotchkiss, Frank Alvah 
Parsons. New York, 1915. 

Productive Advertising. Herbert W. Hess. Philadelphia ( 1915). 

Fraudulent and Deceptive Advertising. Samuel Hopkins Adams. 
New York, 1916. 

Psychology of Advertising. Walter Dill Scott. Boston, 1916. 

MAGAZINE ARTICLES 

Swindling and Newspaper Advertising. Atlantic Mo., Aug., 1904. 
Postal Fraud Laws. The Outlook, Jan. 14, 1905. 
Swindling Through the Postoffice, The Outlook, Jan. 14, 1905. 
Frauds in the Mails. North American Review, April, 1907. 
Mv Experiences in Wanting to Be Beautiful. Ladies' Home 

journal, Jan., 1908. 
How Some Folks Are Easily Swindled. Ladies' Home Journal, 

Aug., 1908. 
The New World of Trade. Samuel Hopkins Adams. Collier's, 

May 22, June 19, July 24, 1909. 
Business Opportunities. Forbes Lindsay. Harper's Weekly, 

Aug. 13, 1910. 
Hitchcock's War Upon Swindles. The Independent, Dec. 1, 1910. 
The Government and the Get-Rich-Quick Industry. Harper's 

Weeklv, Dec. 10, 1910. 
The Get-Rich-Quick Game. World's Work, March, 1911. 
Fooling the People. The Outlook, Feb. 3, 1912. 
Millions Lost in Fake Enterprises. The Outlook, April 13, 1912. 
Chasing Wildcats of Finance. Current Literature, Feb., 1912, 



48 "FISHING FOR SUCKERS" 

My Adventures with Your Money. George Graham Rice. 

Adventure, April, 1911. 
Baffling Kinds of Ignorance. World's "Work, March, 1912. 
Easy Money. Will MacMahon. Collier's, Aug. 16, 1913. 
The "Easy" Rich. Isaac F. Marcosson. Collier's, April 11, 1914. 
Scenario "School" Advertising. Photoplay Magazine, April, 1915. 
Fools and Their Money. Postage, Jan. and Feb., 1916. 
Mail Order Genius. Photoplay Magazine, June, 1916. 

MAGAZINES 
Canvassers' Magazine. South Whitley, Ind, 
See "The Instability of Fallacious Advertising Methods" and 
a department devoted to exposures of "mail order pirates." 
Mail Order Business Builder. Lansing, Mich. 
Mail Order News. Newburgh, N. Y. 




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